Montana Public Radio

David Mattson

A citizen committee appointed by Gov. Steve Bullock finalized a report on how the state should manage grizzly bears last week. They envisioned a future with fully recovered populations of grizzlies in Montana, but could not agree on what that future looks like, in particular when it comes to hunting.

Fred Allendorf speaks during a Nov. 15, 2019 meeting in Missoula about grizzly bear connectivity. The meeting was called by five independent researchers. Organizers Jake Kreilick and Mike Bader are visible in the background.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

After Montana’s new Grizzly Bear Advisory Council met last week in Bozeman to map out a state management plan for the expanding grizzly bear populations near Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, researchers in Missoula railed against turning management over from federal agencies to the state.

As grizzly bear populations in Montana expand into areas where they haven’t been seen for generations, so does the number of potential conflicts with humans.

Grizzly bear track.
Jim Peaco (PD) / National Park Service

On Thursday, a federal court in Missoula is expected to decide if the Yellowstone grizzly bear will stay on the endangered species list. If the court upholds the federal government’s decision to delist the bear, a grizzly hunt will begin September 1 in Wyoming and Idaho.

Rules Drafted For ProposeDraft map showing grizzly bear management units in Montana.d Grizzly Hunting Season
Courtesy Montana FWP

Draft rules for hunting grizzly bears in Montana were released Wednesday.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Spokesman Ron Aasheim says the proposed rules are part of the bigger-picture effort to take Yellowstone area grizzlies off of the federal endangered species list.

David Mattson is just inside the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness north of YNP, holding a limber pine, one of several pine species threatened by climate change which grizzlies use as a food source.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

On Monday we aired an interview with Dan Ashe, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That agency has proposed removing Yellowstone area grizzly bears from the endangered species list. Today we’ll hear from David Mattson, a retired bear biologist and prominent critic who thinks that’s a bad idea.

Critics Raise Concerns Over GYE Grizzly Delisting Proposal
Allen Harris (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

At a two-day meeting in West Yellowstone that wraps up today, representatives of state, federal and tribal agencies raised several concerns about the proposed removal of the Yellowstone area grizzly bear from the endangered species list.

Grizzly bear.
Flickr user Nathan Rupert

The public will get a chance to learn about, and sound off about removing Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the endangered species list in Bozeman this week and next.